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  A Christian Faith Magazine June 2004, Volume 9, Issue 11  
Apathy in Marriage
Rev. Mark Connolly
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Over the years in marriage counseling, all sorts of reasons are given as to why marriages breakup. A lot of them have validity. There is a shortage of money, there is a lack of maturity, there are problems of infidelity, problems with in-laws. In certain marriages these do have an unusual influence in causing a marriage to disintegrate. But if you go back into the history of people, namely the immigrants who came to this country, they had the same problems, they had the same temptations, yet far more of their marriages lasted than many of the marriages of today. When you look at the Slovaks, the Polish, the Irish and Italians who came into this country from 1900 onward, and most of them without two nickels to rub together, divorce was a rare event. Dysfunctionality we never heard about, but many of those marriages remained good and solid, one of the reasons being they had tremendous faith and belief in the sacrament of Matrimony. It was not just an ordinary contract they signed. They made a commitment to each other that was real and for life. Better or worse meant precisely that, for better or worse. When you talk about many of the contemporary marriages of today, you recognize that as society has changed, circumstances have changed, attitudes have changed about marriage. The idea that it should be permanent, one wife and one husband committed to each other, does not seem to be as strong as in the day of our immigrant parents and grandparents.

Today in marriage counseling, and this is working with all of those in the field, one of the greatest problems that infects a marriage is the problem of apathy. For example, we have so many young couples living together before marriage. We know that when they stop living together and get married, 72% of those marriages collapse and end in divorce. That is higher than the national average. One of the reasons they will tell you is that each one became indifferent or apathetic toward each other. For example in the years 2001 and 2002 the highest number of divorces in this country came in the lives of couples who were married 30 years or longer. Apathy played a tremendous problem in their relationship. The husband lived through his job, the wife lived through the children and eventua1ly the moments of communication that should have been used to strengthen their marriage faded away. Each one went in his or her direction. Apathy became a major problem.

Apathy is a cardinal sin of any relationship. If you take God for granted, if you take your spouse for granted, if you take your family for granted, then basically your family and your life will have a great deal more trouble than you ever anticipated.

Right now with all the political campaigning that is taking place especially among the Democratic party, whether you like the candidates or not, there has to be shown by each one of us an interest that one has more talents than the other. If you go back into the history of our family life, you can understand how apathy has been taught unknowingly by many parents.

When you talk to many young people today, they will tell you that the parents they had considered politicians dishonest, crooked and unethical. As a result the children grew up hearing this over and over again. The net result of all of this is that 49% of our young people do not vote at all or get involved in anything political. Whether we like a politician or not we have to sustain an interest in what they are saying. We have to register protest if we dislike what they are saying. We have to make sure that our apathy, our indifference does not allow them to get elected if their value system is totally contrary to the teaching of Christ and to your own teaching.

For example, the State of New Jersey became the second State in the country to say that two gays getting married is legal and permissible. Vermont was the first State. This is a political issue. But it is also a religious issue. We have from the Old Testament and the New Testament that marriage is a sacrament that takes place between a man and a woman. That is the teaching of God. That is the teaching of Christ. That teaching has been going on for 4000 years. For a couple of politicians to push this agenda through and allow it to become a law in certain states and we sit back and do nothing, tells you how apathy is part of our culture that affects our religious values.

We sat back in 1973 when the Supreme Court said abortion is okay. And we did very little about it. That is the killing of the unborn. That is violation of the commandment, "thou shall not kill". That is a violation of the teachings of Jesus Christ. Even today we have expressions that we have to be politically correct and, therefore, take the expression under God out of the Pledge of Allegiance. For us to sit back and do nothing but just criticize our politicians when we can register a complaint with our congress man, put a call into Washington, send a note to our political leaders and then do nothing that tells you how apathy is so prevalent in our culture and so detrimental to our religious values.

We are all hoping that this year of 2004 will be a safe year for each one of us especially the men and woman in the service. We are all hoping it will be happy and healthy year for each one of us. I think we should add one prayer to our religious life style to ask God to give us the strength to oppose the apathy that is going to hurt our nation and hurt our Church. If you read the gospels you might recall that the most powerful words Jesus Christ spoke were not against the one who was unfaithful or who stole, but against the one who was lukewarm concerning religion. He said, AI would rather you hot or cold, but because you are lukewarm I will cast you out of my mouth."

Apathy contributed to the death of Christ. Apathy can contribute to the death of any relationship.

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